DIY Fix for Global Warming?

Russ George: The Man to Save the World?

“Give me half a tanker of iron and I will give you an ice age.” — Russ George

Russ George in the volume 18 issue of Make magazine says he has a solution for global warming. His plan sounds like a deus ex machina solution for our global warming problems: get some iron (0.5 micron hematite), drop it in the ocean, spread at the right times and places, plankton eats iron, plankton grows, and global warming and dying fish go bye-bye. He has also written a Google Knol article (yes, someone uses Google Knol) on the subject as well.

His company, Plantoks Science bills themselves as a “privately held ecorestoration and ocean  biotechnology company” though this sounds like “MacGyver style fix to global warming.”

Science to the rescue or psuedo-science fraud?

Global warming is a topic, like many important and pertinent subjects, largely debated by people who have no idea what they are talking about.

To play the role I hate/love called devil’s advocate, I’m skeptical. The guys math seems solid:

“Phytoplankton absorb 100,000 carbon atoms for every iron atom they consume. Do the math: just one ton of iron can fix 367000 tons of CO2.” – Charles Platt Make

The environment is a complex thing. To quote global skeptic Michael Chrichton “Nobody believes a weather prediction twelve hours ahead.” Or in other words the reasoning and logic may work out for a weather report twelve hours ahead, but the complex system of weather always prevents 100% perfect accuracy. Not even close to reliable accuracy.

The math can add up but not accounting for variables or other factors can destroy a theory. I’m fairly certain I could walk in a straight line in my apartment. I don’t want to try it on a tightrope between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building because on paper it works in my apartment. In short, I would not bet my life or my planet on it.

I neighter accept nor reject global warming. I do reject “armchair scientists.” As in people who think they understand things more than people trained, working full time, and devoted to a particular subject based on a program on the Discovery channel or heard on NPR. You know, people with “degrees” and “training” and “experience.”

Maybe Russ George has a fix for global warming or maybe he has a hazy knowledge of climate science.

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